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Anesthesia

Penn Vet, Ryan Hospital, anesthesiaThe anesthesia service at Penn Vet provides general and locoregional anesthesia, procedural sedation, and pain management consultation services to all other clinical sections of the hospital, as well as participating in the classroom and clinical education of the veterinary students, interns, and residents.

At the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, the service is comprised of four board certified specialists in veterinary anesthesiology, three anesthesiology resident veterinarians, and 15 veterinary nurse anesthetists (technicians), a number of whom are currently or in the process of becoming technician specialty certified in veterinary anesthesia.

Referring a patient to Ryan Anesthesia?

If you are a veterinarian and you need to contact us:

Call: 215-898-3317

If you are referring a patient to Ryan Hospital...

If your pet is coming to Penn Vet for diagnostics or procedures that may require sedation or anesthesia, please carefully follow any instructions given by the attending veterinarian, veterinary nurse, or hospital staff. Please advise them of any known allergies to medications, serious illnesses, or complications with previous anesthesia.

A patient is anesthetized before surgeryThe assigned anesthetist reviews your pet's history and performs a physical examination to determine any conditions that may need to be addressed prior to anesthesia. They will then formulate a detailed anesthetic protocol designed specifically for your pet and discuss it with the supervising veterinary anesthesiologist.

During the procedure, the anesthesia team, which may include nurse, resident, intern, or student anesthetists, will use equipment to monitor you pet's heartbeat, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and other parameters. 

When the procedure is finished, your pet will be transferred to a recovery area for further monitoring. Medications are administered as needed to assist in your pet’s recovery. 

When your pet is discharged, you will notice multiple patches of clipped hair which allow us to perform injections, place catheters, and attach monitoring devices. This hair will grow back over time.

If your pet has any bandages present at the time of discharge, please be sure to discuss their timely removal with the attending veterinarian or veterinary nurse.


Penn Vet, Ryan Hospital, anesthesia

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is when a patient is rendered unconscious through the injection of drugs and/or by inhaling an anesthetic gas. This also provides muscle relaxation and lack of pain perception making it possible to perform surgery and other therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.

General anesthesia does carry risks including but not limited to: respiratory depression, low heart rate and low blood pressure, adverse or allergic reactions to the anesthetic drugs, equipment malfunction and infection. The possibility of these complications occurring is higher in critically ill patients.

At PennVet we make every effort to minimize these risks by tailoring the anesthetic protocol based on the patient’s unique history and medical condition, combining various techniques to reduce the overall impact on the patient, and vigilantly monitoring each patient during anesthesia.

Procedural sedation

Procedural sedation is when an animal is sedated for a diagnostic procedure or minor surgery. This technique is often integrated with locoregional anesthesia. Although sedation does carry similar risks as those for general anesthesia, it typically has less impact on the respiratory and cardiovascular system and allows for faster recovery.

Locoregional anesthesia

Locoregional anesthesia targets the specific area on which surgery is to be performed. Two of the common locoregional techniques are peripheral nerve blocks and epidural / intrathecal injection.

  • Peripheral nerve blocks anesthetize or numb only that part of the body which will undergo surgery. Local anesthetic, such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, is injected around the nerves that supply the area thus preventing pain sensation.
    • The possible complications associated with this technique include failure of the block, adverse or allergic reactions to the drugs or drug toxicity, hemorrhage, infection, and rare complications of the nervous system which may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
  • Epidural / Intrathecal injection of a local anesthetic and/or analgesic drug is another way to provide regional anesthesia and/or pain relief.  A needle is placed between the vertebrae and medication is injected into the epidural or intrathecal space. The epidural injection allows diffusion of the drug to the nerve roots coming from the spinal cord, whereas the intrathecal injection is directly surrounding the spinal cord.
    • The possible complications associated with this technique may include failure of the injection, adverse or allergic reactions to the drugs or drug toxicity, low blood pressure, reactions, hemorrhage, infection, and rare complications of the nervous system which may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis, urinary retention, pruritus (itchiness); slow re-growth of hair over the injection site.
Faculty/Clinicians
Giacomo Gianotti, Penn Vet, anesthesia Giacomo Gianotti, DVM, DVSc, DACVAA
  • Head of Anesthesia
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesia

Dr. Ludovica Chiavaccini
Ludovica Chiavaccini, DVM, DACVAA
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Anesthesia
Monique Paré, DVM
Monique Paré, DVM, DACVAA
  • Lecturer, Anesthesia
Dr. Juan Pavez, Anesthesia, Ryan Hospital Juan Pavez, LMV (DVM), DACVAA
  • ​Assistant Professor​ of Clinical Anesthesia
Ciara Barr, VMD   Ciara Barr, VMD
  • Resident
Joana ChagasJoana Chagas, DVM
  • Resident
Dr. Lauren Duffee, Penn Vet
Lauren Duffee, DVM
  • Resident

Dr. Raphael Vezina, Penn Vet Raphael Vezina, MS, DMV
  • Resident

Anesthesia Vet Tech Staff
 Monica Akin, CVT
  Melissa Allen, RVT
  Casey Bacon, CVT
  David Brown, CVT
  Wendy Curtis Uhle, CVT, VTS: Anesthesia
 Amy Dowling, CVT, VTS: Anesthesia
 Colleen Fenn, CVT
 Taylor Friday, CVT
  Carly Graffeo, CVT
 Amy Kressler, CVT 
 Ellen LoMastro, CVT, VTS: Anesthesia
 Shannon McMahon, CVT
 Florence Murray, Nursing Assistant
 Tara Rodriguez, CVT 
 Jack Ryder, RVT
 Teresa Scott, CVT
 Chelsey Vanetten, CVT